Laila Ali Visits Nelson Mandela

BY Robert Ecksel ON January 30, 2007

Laila Ali says Nelson Mandela reminds her of The Greatest

Laila Ali, in Johannesburg, South Africa, for her February 3 super middleweight title bout against Guyanan Gwendolyn O'Neil, told Reuters that Nelson Mandela, the 88-year-old anti-apartheid superhero who brought white rule on the dark continent to its knees, reminds her of her father, The Greatest, Muhammad Ali.

Laila Ali "He (Mandela) is a very humble man and there is a lot of energy in the room and I could feel his spirit," Ali said. "When I am holding his hand, he is walking on his cane he reminds me so much of my own father. That same energy that I get from him. So he is like family.�

Ali said that Mandela, known affectionately in South Africa by his clan name "Madiba," had given her a bona fide shot in the arm: "I have already gotten the Madiba magic just being around him."

The former South African president and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner boxed as a young man, so he was asked if he had any tips for Ali as she prepares for Gwendolyn O’Neil.

"Look,� said Mandela. “I cannot advise present fighters because I was a fighter many, many, many years ago and the rules have differed so it's better for me to keep quiet.� Read more at the BLOG

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